Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Monte da Ravasqueira Winery

In the heart of the Alentejo region, Portugal, near the town of Arraiolos, Monte da Ravasqueira is located. A property of 3,000 hectares, populated by cork oaks and holm oaks that extend through gentle hills and sunny terrain. The result is a spectacular landscape, which will not leave anyone who visits it indifferent.

Acquired by the Mello family, in 1943, initially its activity was linked to the breeding of the Lusitanian horse. Currently, it houses an extraordinary museum of carriages, which can be accessed when visiting the winery.

In 1998, the first vines were planted, and in 2001 the first grape harvest was obtained from a harvest that was never commercialized. Currently, it has 45 hectares of its own vineyard, in addition to selected grapes that are bought from local vine growers. From its facilities there are 4, 5 million bottles of Alentejo wine; part of the production, 46% goes to export, while 54% goes to the local market.



The concept of "terroir" is very present in the philosophy of the winery. To enhance it, the most advanced techniques are used, such as the use of drones to control the vineyard, and to optimize the division of plots, which is known as "Precision Viticulture". These techniques are combined with a traditional vintage made by hand, in order to take maximum care of the grape selection process.

In this way very balanced wines are obtained, where fruit, wood, and acidity go hand in hand. Some of the most used varieties for the elaboration of their wines are: Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet, Aragonés, and Syrah, for the elaboration of red wines. As for white wines to the already typical Alentejan grapes Roupeiro, Antão Vaz and Arinto, the presence of the Viognier and Albariño varieties is added. In total, up to 26 references are organized in two different ranges, under the brand MR, Monte da Ravasqueira, and Ravasquiera.

Premium White, vintage 2015, is a wine made with the varieties Viognier, Alvarinho, Semillon, Arinto e Marsannede. It is striking for its deep and persistent aromas of citrus and apricot. With a very present acidity, in the mouth it offers light mineral touches, along with butter and orange, resulting in a fruity, fresh wine with good aftertaste and easy to drink.

Premium Rossé, vintage 2016, 100% Touriga Nacional. A rose-colored pink wine that stands out for its complexity. The nose has a deep floral aroma and cherry. Its passage in French oak barrels for 6 months on its own lees, gives it a structure that adds to its extraordinary freshness, resulting in a blunt pink, very unctuous, mineral and with a certain taste in smoky tones.

Vinha das Romãs, its name evokes the fruit of the pomegranate. And it is that the vineyard is planted on an old plantation of pomegranates, the roots of both plants were mixed in the subsoil, and hence this wine so special. Harvest of 2016, is made from Syrah and Touriga Franca varieties. It has a dark cherry color, with a lot of layer. A wine with aromas reminiscent of black plum, berries and licorice. The palate highlights its spicy flavor, with hints of clove and cardamom, and especially black pepper. At the same time it is a very mineral wine, which contrasts with its lively acidity that gives it freshness. A wine full of sensations that explode on the palate and with a long ending that will provoke the pleasure of lovers of different wines. A wine of guard.

This aromatic complexity of the wines of the Ravasqueira range is a common factor in the wines of the winery. As seen in the Ravasqueira Premium Tinto 2014. This is a wine that comes to light only in exceptional years. It also came from a deep cherry color and very covered, it is a wine to drink with tranquility. Very complex on the nose, with aromas of wood, truffle, dark chocolate and candied fruit. Very mineral in the mouth with spicy notes, plum compote, raisins and aromas typical of the Mediterranean forest in which it has grown: cork oak, oak, oregano, thyme ... Balsamic and fresh, with tamed tannins, offers a perfect balance between fruit, wood and acidity.

We finished the tasting with two special wines, Monte da Ravasquiera LH (Late Harvest) late harvest, a semi-sweet wine of great freshness made from the Viognier variety. When the grapes are subjected to temperatures of -20 º C for weeks to preserve their properties better, this wine surprises for its balance between sweetness and acidity. With all the characteristics of a muscat, it has a nice lemon yellow color. The nose is very citrus, reminiscent of honey and pineapple. Its flavor mixes citrus fruits with white stone fruit jams. Little unctuous for what is usual in this type of wines, and with a graduation of only 12º is ideal to pair with cheeses and pates.

The other surprise was Ravasqueira Wine Liquoroso Alentejano, based on the varieties Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz. With 18.5º this generous wine is of a deep ruby color. Deep aromas of black fruit, jams, and a flavor that integrates vanilla, toffee, roasted, and reminiscent of some Port wines. But all this is presided by a well-assembled acidity that brings considerable freshness to the wine, giving it a sweet and prolonged finish.

Adress: Monte da Ravasqueira, 7040-121 Arraiolos, Portugal



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